Supporting information on the Complaint Standards Framework for the NHS

Complaints and fitness to practice procedures, legal action and other procedures

34. NHS organisations should ensure their complaints staff are properly trained to identify when it may be  appropriate for a complaint to be addressed through a different process as well as or instead of the complaints process.  This can happen at any stage in the complaint handling process and would include identification of matters that trigger patient safety issues, involve a potential legal claim,  coroner investigations and inquests or may trigger a relevant regulatory process, such as fitness to practice investigations or referrals

35. When another  process may be appropriate, staff should provide clear information and assistance to the individual to make sure they understand why that may be beneficial and the options available.   Staff should engage with relevant staff responsible for managing patient safety investigations or claims within their organisation to agree on what would be the best way to ensure that the individual gets a complete and holistic response to all the issues raised in the complaint.

36. If an issue could be dealt with through another process, NHS organisations should ensure staff can provide information on how the individual can get independent specialist advice and support.